Meetups and Hackathons - Data Science on the Rise in Finland

Recap of the data science scene in Finland in 2015

The data science scene in Finland has been growing well in the recent years. Here’s a recap of the data science events and other stuff in Finland that hit my radar during 2015. If you think something important is missing, please add a comment!


The first public data science activities that come to my mind are definitely meetups. Several interesting data science and analytics meetups were organised in the Helsinki region last year, organised by companies such as F-Secure, Supercell,, and Verto Analytics.

Photo from the F-Secure meetup by Tuuli Siiskonen.

The main channels (that I’m aware of) to find out about the future events and discuss data science -related stuff are listed here:

In 2015 a couple of interesting newcomers with more specific focus areas also emerged:

Aalto University also continued their digibreakfast series with Big Data in the Industry event, featuring presentations from Yle, M-brain, Supercell, Smartly, and Tieto. There was also discussion about how the academy and industry could collaborate more and what kind of skills should be emphasized more in data science education.

All of the above activities are based in the Helsinki region. There is also budding activity in other cities, at least in Tampere, which has its own Tampere Data Science Meetup group.

Open data and hackathons

Finland has a very active open data scene, led by Open Knowledge Finland. Many open data events in 2015 involved also data science. The Nordic Open Data Week in June for example included a Data Science Hackathon organised by Aller Media, Futurice and Citizen Mindscapes.

Another event in the week focused on how to develop business using open data. The program involved interesting ideation sessions facilitated by companies working with data, aiming to develop practical applications of open data. I also participated the event, and our group focused on mobility services. The newly found site continues the work to develop business from open data.

The Aalto Data Science Hackathon, organised by Aalto University and several companies, featured several open data sets for the data hackers to dive in.

Open Finland Challenge - formerly Apps4Finland - also involved multiple data science -related submissions. Our apartment price modeling and visualization work got to the finals, but was left without awards. Data visualization was however well represented, as the magnificient flow towards Europe refugee visualization by Lucify won the shared grand prize.

Data-driven social sciences

Data science applications are also finding their way into social science research. In 2015 the first International Conference on Computational Social Science was organised in Helsinki and it was a great success.

Digital humanities is another field where computational methods are getting into wider use. Some of the biggest activities in Finland included the Digital Humanities Hackathon and the Big Data - from data to evidence conference.

The future

A lot of interesting stuff happened in 2015, and I’m sure we’ll continue see great meetups, hackathons and other events in 2016. Personally I’m very excited about the MyData 2016 event, promoting ethical and human centric use of personal data (see my earlier post on MyData).